Skip to comments.Remote tribe faces extinction after eight men drink chemical they mistook for alcohol[Onge]
Posted on 12/11/2008 10:09:01 AM PST by BGHaterEdited on 12/11/2008 10:11:19 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
Eight members of a remote Indian tribe have died after drinking a chemical they mistook for alcohol.
The dead men from the tiny Onge tribe swigged the brown liquid which washed ashore in a bottle.
There are fewer than 100 members of the Onge left. They are the last remaining hunter-gatherers and live on the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Which begs the question... WHY?
Tribe shoots arrows at aid flight
|ANDAMAN ISLANDS, India (7 Feb 2006) -- Police on India's Andamans are planning to sneak onto a forbidden island to retrieve the bodies of two castaways killed by members of an isolated tribe, officials said on Tuesday.
Fishermen Sunder Raj and Pandit Tiwari fell asleep in their row boat that drifted to the shores of North Sentinal island, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Andaman's administrative capital of Port Blair, Dharmendra Kumar, police chief of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
They were killed with bows and arrows by Sentinalese tribes people when they arrived on the shores of the island, which is out of bounds even to Indian authorities.
The attack occurred some 10 days ago and the "Stone Age" aborigines have buried the pair in separate shallow graves next to their boat from where police hope to retrieve the bodies.
"Right now, it is impossible. There'll be casualties on both sides," said Kumar.
"Right now, they are coming out in large numbers and so let things cool down and once these tribals move to the island's other end we'll try and sneak in and bring back the bodies," the police chief said by telephone from Port Blair.
Relatives of the slain fishermen were taken by government boats and shown the two graves through binoculars, said B.S. Negi, Andaman's chief civilian administrator, adding that the area was still surrounded by 20 naked Sentinalese.
Kumar's plan if executed is likely to be criticized by environmental groups who accuse the authorities of failing to protect the archipelago's five aboriginal groups who have lived on the island cluster for 60,000 years.
"It will be crazy if the police land on the island. They will be condemned by the whole world," warned Samir Achorya, founder of Society of Andaman and Nicobar Ecology environmental group.
Achorya said that the two slain men were poaching lobsters and crabs in the off-limit waters of Sentinal.
"These two were petty criminals and have been imprisoned many times so we don't know what the police will gain by retrieving their rotting corpses from the island, which is the legal exclusive preserve of the aborigines," he said.
Survival International, an international pressure forum for near-extinct tribes, accused the archipelago's administration of not doing enough to prevent fishing boats entering the island's waters, which are even forbidden to naval ships.
"These tragic deaths could have been avoided if authorities had been enforcing the law," forum director Stephen Corry said in a statement.
Beside the Sentinalese, four other Stone Age tribes - the 99-member Onge, 350-member Shompens, 39 of the almost extinct Andamanese and 350 Jarawas - live on the Andamans.
Only a handful died in the tsunami waves that lashed the archipelago on December 26, 2004, killing some 3,500 people in the Andamans. Another 5,000 are still listed as missing.
A military reconnaissance helicopter surveying a tsunami shipwreck near the island strayed too close to its shores last year and received a volley of arrows, one of which pierced the cockpit glass narrowly missing its startled pilot.
The Sentinelese and other indigenous Andamanese peoples are frequently described as negritos, a somewhat indistinct and out of date anthropological term, which has been applied to variously widely-separated peoples in Southeast Asia, such as the Semang of the Malay archipelago and the Aeta of the Philippines, as well as sometimes to other peoples as far afield as South America and Australia. The defining characteristics of these 'negrito' peoples include a comparatively short stature, dark skin and "peppercorn" hair, qualities also found commonly across the continent of Africa. The Sentinelese themselves appear however to be markedly taller on average than other Andamanese peoples, being somewhat above average human size in males (1.8 m/6 ft) and of average size in females (1.6 m/5.4 ft).
Virtually nothing is known of the Sentinelese language, and no word lists or language samples have been collected by researchers. It is presumably an Andamanese language, but how closely it may be related to other languages of that family is unknown.
They are actively hostile to unknown intruders requiring frequent shows of peaceful intent before allowing outsiders to come into arrow range. Attempts to leave them material goods from the late 1960s on have resulted in household ware and metal objects being utilized, coconuts being eaten but not planted (no local population of Cocos nucifera appeared to exist before the planting of saplings in 1987), pigs are not eaten but shot and buried, as was a doll. Red buckets were taken with apparent delight, while green ones were rejected.
A strategy that resulted in possibilities for close-quarter observation was that after an initial period of some 10 years, repeated dropping of material, chiefly coconuts, were deposited on deserted stretches of beach. Groups approaching to pick up the goods being monitored and censused from a safe distance, breaking off contact when the Sentinelese indicated they wished so by presenting their weapons and mock aiming at the contact party. Face-to-face contact was discontinued in the 1990s; more recent observations have been from a longer distance or from the air.
Sentinelese have been observed to engage in impromptu musical, dancing and rhythmic performance as a sign of joy and exhilaration. A curious incident occurred on March 29, 1970, when a research party of Indian anthropologists which included T.N. Pandit found themselves cornered on the reef flats between North Sentinel and Constance Island. An eyewitness recorded the following from his vantage point on a boat lying off the beach:
Quite a few discarded their weapons and gestured to us to throw the fish. The women came out of the shade to watch our antics...A few men came and picked up the fish. They appeared to be gratified, but there did not seem to be much softening to their hostile attitude...They all began shouting some incomprehensible words. We shouted back and gestured to indicate that we wanted to be friends. The tension did not ease. At this moment, a strange thing happened - a woman paired off with a warrior and sat on the sand in a passionate embrace. This act was being repeated by other women, each claiming a warrior for herself, a sort of community mating, as it were. Thus did the militant group diminish. This continued for quite some time and when the tempo of this frenzied dance of desire abated, the couples retired into the shade of the jungle. However, some warriors were still on guard. We got close to the shore and threw some more fish which were immediately retrieved by a few youngsters. It was well past noon and we headed back to the ship...
The same expedition noted among the items of a settlement a rectangular board which looked like an 8 x 8 square-chessboard; the origin and significance of this object is unknown but the Onge and Jarawa do not have boardgames.
Pig skulls are deposited in quantities near settlements, or are decorated with ochre and are kept for trophies. Items of red colour, as noted above, seem to be popular and/or significant; the Sentinelese apparently utilize a red dye for fibre-string ornaments on occasion. Artwork appears to be unknown except for simple but pleasing linear patterns applied to bows and javelins.
Ritual practices remain all but unknown. Dead infants are apparently buried in graves on which a nautilus shell and smaller seashells are placed. Next to the embers maintained in the dwellings, a stick roughly resembling a five-fingered hand is stuck in the ground upright; this perhaps has some cultic significance, but nothing further is known about it.
Their island is nominally part of and administered by the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands; however, in practice the Sentinelese exercise complete autonomy over their affairs and the involvement of the Indian authorities is restricted to occasional monitoring, even more infrequent and brief visits, and generally discouraging any access or approaches to the island.
From 1967 on the Indian authorities in Port Blair embarked on a programme of official but limited attempts at contacting the Sentinelese, under the auspices of the Director of Tribal Welfare and anthropologist T. N. Pandit. These "Contact Expeditions" consisted of a series of planned visits which would progressively leave "gifts", such as coconuts, on the shores, in an attempt to coax the Sentinelese from their customary hostile reception of outsiders. For a while these seemed to have some limited success; however the programme was discontinued in the late 1990s following a series of hostile encounters resulting in several deaths in a similar programme practiced with the Jarawa people of South and Middle Andaman Islands and because of the danger of introducing diseases. The Sentinelese remain skeptical and generally hostile to any approaches from outsiders.
In 2006, Sentinelese archers killed two fishermen who were fishing illegally within range of the island, and drove off the helicopter that was sent to retrieve their bodies with a hail of arrows. To this date, their bodies remain unrecovered.
“A government official said strict measures had been put in place to stop similar incidents occurring in the future.”
??? Supply with them with booze???
Also what was the chemical?
I'm surprised there are that many. Drinking from washed-ashore bottles? Sounds like two standard deviations below the mean on the IQ statistical distribution...
“Hey Bubba-onge - watch this..”
Kind of a tough route to the spirit world, although a pretty quick one.
What a shame...
Ah, what a mistake!
Are these people related to the Boogies (as in Boogieman) ?
Funny how that nasty habit has a nasty habit of thinning out the gene pool.
Sounds familiar - I guess liberals have already been there, huh?
And while we’re on the subject, when I was studying Anthro I wondered why anthropologists insist upon studying the thoroughly failed societies in order to learn how to best do things. Any group of fewer than 10,000 people living in stone age savagery at this point in the world is the LAST group I’d study to learn about successful societies. Sheesh.
***Eight members of a remote Indian tribe have died after drinking a chemical they mistook for alcohol.***
Whew! For a moment I thought Ward Churchill was trying to work up a guilt trip about native Americans!
My first impression of what they looked like was closer to this:
There are fewer than 100 members of the Onge left.
Cause and effect...
uhhhnnnggghhh me only man left must procreate with all the women now.
Southie on 3/17?
Nobody knows how they ended up all the way from Africa to those tiny islands in the middle of the ocean.
Just when I thought Darwin was an hopeless idiot something like this pops up...
“??? Supply with them with booze???”
Awesome sentence happi-—
make that- “What are they going to do, supply them with booze?”
Don’t mind me..I am not logged in.
"Protecting" the Stone Age existence,EXCEPT these people are actually being air-dropped food ?
There is no charity in supporting savagery.
Not to be insensitive, but do The Darwin Awards have a “group” category?
Western New Guinea also has ‘negroes’.
My Tribe in College did the same thing!
Law of the jungle still works..............
That really is interesting.
This is an example of strong selective pressure against alcohol drinkers.
“Hold my bow . . . . “
No way this would work in Memphis.
Thanks BGHater and Little Bill. Libertines on the beach! ;')
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Designated driver was drunk?
Stone age tribesmen want technology and modernization. Liberal Western value system says that what the tribesmen want is irrelevant because they must remain noble savages...
These are very primitive isolated people with little or no knowledge of the modern world.
Thanks for that intelligent response to a sad situation.
These people are socially and mentally locked in a neolithic time warp. Their life style is pretty close to that of our most remote ancestors.
Some of the comments on this post are simply disgusting as this is not in any way a humorous situation.
Within five years the survivors will be driving cabs in Brooklyn.
“Which begs the question... WHY?”
Darwin Award nominees always do that sort of thing.
So very interesting to get a glimpse of these lives.
Thanks for the post.
Thanks for the links!
poor devils. What DO we do with these tribes? They are stone-age (that’s a fact, not a disparaging remark) and the Jarawa/Sentinelese are supposed to not even have the knowledge of making fire, but keeping fire from lighting hits. Is it fair bringing them to a civilisation thousands of years more advanced then them? Wouldn’t it be a massive culture shock? Or do we keep them as some kind of zoo animals to watch and observe/ Neither choice is very palatable.
there is no way you can bring them to oru civilisation — it would be too much of a culture shock, like being transported 8000 years into the future.
I agree — depending on which ancestors, most peoples int he world were living like this 11,000+ years ago.
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